The Thekla Archives: 2014

Bleech, Thekla Top Deck presents Bleech: 14+ EVENT

  • Friday 11th April 2014
  • Supported by: Hysterical Injury / Joe Probert

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As much as the hype-hungry music industry likes to pretend that all acts arrive fully formed, ready for stardom from their first demo, the reality is that bands take time to progress. It helps if you have a work ethic that sees you play 100 gigs a year until you reach a tipping point – even more if you learn how to be your own tour managers, guitar techs and sound engineers as you go along. That way, you’re more likely to become “unignorable”, as Bleech singer/guitarist Jen O’Neill explains, with a genuine fanbase. As drummer Matt Bick reasons: “You need to be at the point where you’re bursting out of your skin for it to happen, with a fanbase who completely adore you, having created something real on your own.” A powerful and combative live act, Bleech have certainly seen their audiences grow since an early gig in Burton-on-Trent where, as Katherine smiles, “We played to one man, his dog and a transvestite. I think there were two hookers hanging around too.” In Dunfermline, they survived a mass stage invasion and a promoter who fed the band Jaegerbombs on stage – before stealing their merchandise. But those and another 400 gigs have seen Bleech grow into a consistently superb force.“It’s an unspoken rule that we have to be at our best every night,” insists Matt. “It used to be that, for certain gigs, we’d go ‘We have to be great tonight’, but now we know how to be on it at every show. We don’t shy away any more.” Jen adds: “We used to think everyone had to love us. There’s a lot of learning still to be done, but we’ve done it long enough that we can say ‘We can do this.’”Jen puts the biggest leap in their live proficiency down to the confidence borne from completing such an accomplished new album. The band now view Nude as an accompaniment to their gigs of the time, whereas Humble Sky is a complete work in its own right.
Helped by post-studio chillout sessions where the band and Ian played each other inspiring songs by the likes of Neil Young, Rodriguez, Joni Mitchell and Talk Talk, they knuckled down to getting each component to sound just right – only going too far when Matt required over 60 takes to perfect the skittering drums on Easy Ride. “Ian had to tell me ‘Do you want to go for a walk?’,” Matt blushes. “I was throwing my sticks everywhere and broke a lamp in the kitchen.”




The Grove, Bristol BS1 4RB
Doors 6.30pm
Ages 14+ (accompanied)

Advance tickets available from:
Bristol Ticket Shop
0844 871 8819